5 Top Habits Successful CPMs Practice Every Day

project manager pointing with pen on laptop computer with white safety helmet, blueprint and color palette on desk during discussing planing for new project at construction site, engineering concept

In a perfect world, everything you’ve budgeted, organized and coordinated goes according to plan. In reality, we know that’s just not how it goes most of the time. Changes in scope, lack of accountability and unrealistic expectations are just some of the challenges construction project managers (CPMs) face. To help you out, we’ve collected the five top habits successful CPMs practice every day.

1. Consistently Communicate with Your Team

As a CPM, you need to ensure that every stakeholder, from field workers to back-office staff, are aware of their responsibilities and expectations. To prevent misunderstandings, create a regular flow of communication between every team member. Draft a communication plan to identify what type of information is required and who needs access what. Issues arise when people stop communicating or responding effectively. Transparency between team members leads to better collaboration, allowing projects to run more smoothly.

Here’s a tip: A large part of being a CPM involves understanding people. It’s always good to make small, friendly efforts to communicate, like asking your team members how their weekend went. According to the Project Management Institute, communication always goes beyond words; it involves both facts and feelings.

“Keep an open environment that fosters trust and communication. People should feel comfortable to ask questions all the time. Take the time to know about subordinates’ lives, even if the relationship is short.” –

2. Continuously Plan Your Projects

Ever heard the saying, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail”? It couldn’t be more accurate in construction management. When you’re overseeing a project, each stage can be complicated and filled with risks. This is why you need to be proactive and develop and revise plans throughout the entire process.

To begin, make sure you have a clear project scope with detailed information on timelines, milestones and budget. You’ll need to continuously review your plans to ensure the timeframe is realistic and you have all the proper resources necessary for the project.

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Source: Buildertrend

It can be a challenge to plan and manage the various project components while moving between the office and the jobsite. Luckily, a project management software can help you access all your plans and notes on any device (desktop or mobile).

Did you know that 65% of contractors use tablets while 93% use smartphones onsite? Online tools available on any mobile device can make the planning and revisions process quick and easy. You can immediately adjust your plans accordingly while taking your schedule and budget into account.

3. Lead and Delegate with Confidence

As a CPM, you’re a leader, responsible for managing a team of qualified specialists. So, how do you lead and delegate effectively? Stop viewing yourself as a task manager. Your role is to understand your team members and ensure that everyone is on the same page and working well together to complete the project. When it comes to delegation, your team members are experts in their field, so you don’t need to micromanage. Instead, give them the trust and respect they deserve. Ensure they report to you regularly and continuously provide progress updates.

To be an effective leader, make sure you develop key relationships with your team members. Get to understand who they are and how they work best. Listen to what they say and always be open and transparent about any difficulties in the project.

4. Solve One Problem at a Time 

When you’re managing projects, it’s easy to dive deep into every problem. From inadequately skilled personnel to impossible deadlines, or even resource deprivation, avoid trying to tackle everything at once. According to the Harvard Business Review, multitasking is ineffective and often results in errors and mistakes. So, start by solving one problem at a time.

If it’s a big problem, we recommend breaking it down into smaller issues you can tackle with more ease. When it comes to prioritization, try organizing the tasks according to urgency and level of difficulty. If you like to focus on challenging tasks first, you can focus on issues like financial costs or losses in productivity, and then work your way to smaller concerns. Spend time with your team to address problems and potential risks. Effective planning can reduce the number of issues that arise, allowing you to focus on managing your team well.

5. Be Open and Adaptable to Change

No matter how detailed your plans are, many things can happen when you’re on the jobsite. These include environmental issues, changes to scope, the project going over budget, setbacks and delays. With 52% of projects experiencing scope creep and uncontrolled changes, every CPM needs to prepare for the many issues that can arise.

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Source: Workamajig

When it comes to preparation, being adaptable can begin before the project even kicks off. You can anticipate project setbacks by building extra time into the schedule or securing additional funds in the budget. Also think about past projects: What problems did you encounter that may come up again? Create a list of these known issues – called project “risks” – and ways you can proactively address them before they snowball into critical concerns.

If you’re already onsite and there’s a bit of scope creep, don’t discard your original plan. Remember, you’re still leading a team. Communicate with every team member to make sure everyone is on the same page, and lead your people through any changes. The most important aspect of change – and the easiest thing to control – is your attitude. Understand the problem, follow up with the appropriate steps, and learn from your mistakes. Adopting a growth mindset will help you bounce back from any setbacks and help you continuously improve as a CPM.

Managing construction projects can be challenging. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure projects finish on time and on budget. That’s why successful CPMs understand the importance of communication and firm leadership. If you want to streamline your tasks in order to focus on building better rapport with your team, be sure to schedule a live demo with us today. If you found this article useful, please share or let us know by commenting down below.

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